Damages phase begins in Center City collapse case

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Opening statements got underway in the damages phase of that 2013 deadly building collapse in Center City. (WPVI)

Opening statements got underway in the damages phase of the 2013 deadly building collapse in Center City.

The same jury who found the defendants liable in the case must now decide how much they will pay the victims and their families for their pain and suffering.

Back in court Friday were the lawyers for the plaintiffs and the five defendants found responsible for the collapse that crushed the Salvation Army thrift store at 22nd and Market.

The collapse killed seven people and maimed 12 others.

On Tuesday, a civil court jury decided the five principals who played a role in the disaster will have to pay damage.

The biggest target is The Salvation Army, which lost its store and two of its employees, because it ignored warnings of danger and a potential collapse by the adjacent four-story building that was being demolished.

The Salvation Army has the deepest pockets, with nearly $15 billion dollars in assets and annual revenues of nearly $3 billion.

Next in line is Richard Basciano, the 91-year-old New York real estate mogul who owned the building undergoing demolition. He hired a cheap, inexperienced contractors to do the demolition.

Philadelphia architect Plato Marinakos, Jr., was hired by Basciano to monitor demolition and do it on the cheap. Marinakos was found to have known the building was near collapse, but told no one.

The two men found least responsible for assessing damages were contractor Griffin Campbell and his excavator operator, Sean Benschop. Both are serving long prison terms and are penniless.

On Thursday, the NAACP leader joined Campbell's family to call for a new trial.

"Basciano and the architect were well aware of the impending dangers," said Rodney Mohammed. "This was a miscarriage of justice any way you slice this cake, and we are demanding that Griffin Campbell get a new trial."

"He was following the orders of the architect. He was devastated and he still is," said Campbell's wife, Kim Lee Campbell.
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philly newssalvation armycollapselawsuitCenter City Philadelphia
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